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Monday, March 2, 2015

Are the criminal investigation of Mike Hubbard and my unlawful incarceration somehow connected?

Rob Riley
Many Alabamians probably are still trying to pick their jaws off the floor following reports Friday about evidence in the prosecution of House Speaker Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn). The material includes Hubbard e-mails--many of them to and from former Governor Bob Riley--that spotlight the speaker's financial woes, his whiny demeanor, and his utter disregard for the rights and feelings of others.

A report from John Archibald, of al.com, carried an appropriate headline: "Stunning e-mails paint Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard as desperate for money, favors." The conservative news outlet found Hubbard's words so embarrassing that it followed up with an editorial calling for his resignation. From the editorial: "His own emails show [Hubbard] to be venal and grasping and unconcerned with boundaries between public business and his private interests."

The worst for Hubbard might still be out there. According to the state's response to Hubbard's Motion for a More Definite Statement, it turned over more than 2.5 million pages of documents on February 17, 2015, outlining the case against the speaker. That apparently means the documents made public last Friday are a small sampling of the material gathered against Hubbard. What other embarrassing and illuminating documents might become known at trial?

All of this, plus another recent news article that received relatively little attention, raise the following question: Was my unlawful arrest and incarceration somehow connected to the grand-jury investigation of Hubbard and others in Lee County? Let's follow the evidence that we have so far:

Former Deputy Attorney General Sonny Reagan retained lawyers Rob Riley and Bill Baxley in fall 2013, according to a recent report at Alabama Political Reporter (APR). What else happened in fall 2013? I was arrested and spent five months in the Shelby County Jail on the heels of defamation lawsuits filed by . . . Rob Riley and Bill Baxley.

Is all of this somehow connected? Since I was released on March 26, 2014, several knowledgeable individuals have told me they believe my incarceration was connected to the ongoing grand-jury investigation in Lee County, Alabama. I've never been sure about that, but the new report from APR's Bill Britt shows that Riley, Baxley, and Reagan were joining forces at pretty much the same time of my arrest.

Was my incarceration designed to ensure I was not available to report on news that might come out of Lee County? Were Rob Riley, Bill Baxley, Mike Hubbard, and others concerned that my sources would provide damaging information about the Riley political machine? I'm starting to think the answer might be yes--although I doubt the Lee County probe was the only motivating factor.

We do know this for sure: Rob Riley's lawsuit led directly to my incarceration, and his case bears little or no resemblance to a normal defamation complaint--in fact, it repeatedly seeks remedies that are not sanctioned by law. That strongly suggests an ulterior motive was in play.

How might all of this fit together? Well, it's complicated. Hubbard, the primary target of the Lee County investigation, has been indicted on 23 criminal counts--and Britt reports that Riley long has represented Hubbard. Reagan testified before the grand jury and wound up being forced to resign from the Attorney General's Office following charges that he leaked information to possible targets of the investigation. To whom did he leak the information? We do not know.

But thanks to Britt's reporting, we know Reagan must have smelled trouble brewing for quite some time because he retained Baxley and Riley as far back as fall 2013. Let's follow this curious timeline:

Mike Hubbard
According to published reports, the Lee County grand jury convened in August 2013 and started calling witnesses in October of that year. When was I arrested? That came on October 23, 2013--supposedly because I violated a preliminary injunction in Riley's defamation lawsuit. Never mind that more than 200 years of First Amendment law says such an injunction in a case of alleged defamation represents an unlawful prior restraint. Never mind that even right-wing legal analysts, such as Ken White at the Popehat blog, have written that my arrest was wildly unlawful and contrary to long-settled First Amendment law. Never mind that none of my reporting ever has been found false or defamatory at trial, but I wound up in jail, with a judgment against me, anyway--thanks to retired judge and Riley sycophant Claud Neilson.

We already have pointed to evidence that Riley's lawsuit was not really about defamation. From a post dated October 7, 2014:

Let's consider a few elements of Riley's claim--and contrast them with actual defamation law:

* Riley immediately asked for a temporary restraining order (TRO), followed by a preliminary injunction--A long line of state and U.S. Supreme Court cases show that TRO's and preliminary injunctions are barred as unconstitutional prior restraints in defamation cases. One of the most recent examples is a Virginia case styled Dietz v. Perez, which involved a woman writing a negative review about a construction contractor on a couple of Web forums. The foundational case on the subject is a 1931 U.S. Supreme Court case styled Near v. Minnesota, which was built on roughly 200 years of First Amendment law.

* Riley did not ask for a trial--Longstanding law holds that an injunction in a defamation case is proper only after a full adjudication on the merits, at trial. This principle is spelled out in a 1973 U.S. Supreme Court case styled Pittsburgh Press Co. v. Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations, 413 U.S. 376. It is discussed in more full detail in a 2007 California case styled Balboa Island Village Inn v. Lemen, 156 P.3d 339 (Cal. 2007).

* Riley asked for a judge to rule on the case, not a jury--The law holds that the First Amendment enjoys an exalted place in our democracy, and such cases are to be decided by a jury. To allow bench trials on such matters is to invite censorship by a single judge. Juries are deemed necessary to protect the cherished right to free speech. This principle is perhaps best discussed in Bernard v. Gulf Oil Co., 619 F. 2d 459 (Fifth Circuit, 1980).

Rob Riley sought an unlawful TRO and preliminary injunction, he did not seek a trial, and he did not ask for a jury. All of this violates clear law, and indicates his lawsuit was really about something other than defamation. In fact, his case never even looked like a defamation claim.

The recent APR report tells us that Rob Riley's mind very much was on the Lee County investigation at the time he asked Judge Claud Neilson to order my arrest--a move that has zero support under the law. In essence, Rob Riley asked for me to be kidnapped--and he also asked for my wife to be kidnapped, even though she had nothing to do with my blog at the time.

Why would a major Republican political figure take such desperate and wildly unlawful steps? We don't have a definitive answer, but we do have other questions: Will Alabama Republicans start to drift away from Mike Hubbard in the wake of his embarrassing e-mails? Will Sonny Reagan face criminal charges and possible disbarment for leaking grand-jury information, along with those to whom he leaked?

If we get to that point, the Lee County story will really heat up--and the mask might get pulled off some of the bad actors who have turned Alabama into one of the nation's most corrupt states.


Anonymous said...

Good Lord, they turned over 2.5 million pages of documents to Hubbard! I bet he's still going to act like he doesn't know what he's charged with.

Anonymous said...

I bet Pat Dye regrets the day he jumped in bed with Hubbard.

legalschnauzer said...

I hear that David Housel is the one at Auburn who really hates Hubbard. David is a genuine, good-hearted soul who truly loves AU--and I think he realized long ago that Hubbard is an opportunist and a phony. Housel hired Hubbard for a sports-information job that brought Mikey to Alabama, but I hear Housel deeply regrets it.

Anonymous said...

It seems clear to me that Rob Riley ordered your arrest and he might have done it at someone's behest. Either way, you are correct to describe it as a "desperate" act. I find it interesting that John Archibald uses the same term to describe Mike Hubbard's actions.

Anonymous said...

Did you notice where Hubbard more or less brags about needing to fire 4-5 people, just to show "there's a new sheriff" in town, but when Mike himself is about to lose his job, it's cause for a whining fit? What a disgusting creep. If I were Susan Hubbard, I would schedule an appointment with a divorce lawyer pronto.

legalschnauzer said...

@10:49, what you describe with Hubbard's "firing" comment shows an utter lack of empathy for others. It also shows lack of a conscience or a very warped conscience. Both of these are classic signs of sociopathy. Also notice that Riley doesn't seem to bat an eye at Hubbard's declaration about costing people their jobs. Is that because such stuff is standard operating procedure for the Riley crowd? Probably so. Is Bob Riley showing signs of sociopathy, too? I would say so.

Anonymous said...

LS, the Riley crowd knows you have good sources. That's what they are afraid of, and it's why you were thrown in jail.

They probably are afraid of you, but I think they are really afraid of your sources--because they've been on target about a lot of stuff.

How good are your sources? Just ask John Merrill.

Anonymous said...

Great story at AL Political Reporter shows Hubbard had net worth of almost $8 million when he was claiming to be poor to Bob Riley and all of these business big shots. What a con man.


Anonymous said...

The emails make it sound like even Bob Riley is starting to think Mike Hubbard is a creep.

Anonymous said...

Looking grim for Mr. Hubbard. I would say his only way out of this is to go to the AG's office, and maybe the FBI, and spill everything he knows about Bob Riley, Rob Riley, and Minda Riley Campbell. I would say he also needs to change lawyers fast because Rob Riley arranged this Mark White character for him.

Chuckles said...

So Hubbard lied to wealthy people about being poor and needing cash? I would say his days as a big-time fundraiser for the GOP are over.

Anonymous said...

Asking for the definite statement, unleashing all this bad info about Hubbard, sure seems like a stroke of tactical "genius" by Mark White. Kind of makes me think Mr. White is working more for the Rileys than for Hubbard. Also makes me think the Rileys are selling Hubbard on a long ride down the Mississippi River. Mr. Hubbard is a fool if he has genuine admiration for anyone in the Riley klan, especially Big Bob.

Anonymous said...

I would love to see you sue the holy crap out of Rob Riley, Mike Hubbard, Bob Riley, Bill Pryor, and anybody else who conspired to have you thrown in jail. You are right, that was a kidnapping. And the people responsible for it need to pay.

e.a.f. said...

This post was like reading a movie script. Once this is all over and done with you really ought to try writing the movie. It has all the elements, greed, divorces, spousal beatings, lying, having a journalist tossed in jail, etc.

Well what goes around, comes around and it would appear things are coming around to bite some in the arse.

Anonymous said...

The serious problem is the "Lawyer Bubble". The Federal Reserve System sold the American people on a legal system that isn't other than (as all know at the Schnauzer Blog), a racketeer organization. The globalization ideology got all the lawyers into thinking they were going to retire as millionaires and / or follow the Clintons and Obamas imagery and wow, presto billionaires in the globalized privatized USA.

Thus, suing the can of worms now being found as the same rot as the housing criminal fraud.

America unfortunately is a fraud, the whole system.

How can the system not be fully corrupted? The money is how the government gets paid and the money is fraud.

No other country is having the same situation as the Shuler family experienced.

That is all America has, too, prison system "money".

Face the fact here, the Roger Shuler case was well-designed to keep the people in America, in the time of full transparency, TERRORIZED.

A style that can be used as though a new order of control.

War on Drugs and War on Terror. There isn't a war on humans that the controllers don't control absolute. That is, until the whole world said no.

No to the American Dollar that is nothing but "toilet paper".

Money can't really control the USA in business globally, gotta get some kind of token.

Kidnapping global was the real teaching tool and many were disappeared. Lucky Schnauzer.

Anonymous said...

Hubbard has hated the teachers of this state for years. As a retired one i am glad to see this conniving little man go down. Your incarceration was uncalled for. Keep writing... Keep fighting..